The 18-year-old Ghanaian midfielder saw his potential spotted by European heavyweights, but ultimately ended up accepting a German offer.
Real Madrid and Manchester United were eager to buy into Kelvin Ofori’s potential before he accepted an offer to link up with Fortuna Dusseldorf, says the Bundesliga club’s head of sports Lutz Pfannenstiel.
The German side reached an agreement with the highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder in the summer of 2019 after his ability had been noted within the famed Right to Dream Academy in Ghana.
It quickly became apparent that a move to Europe beckoned for the youngster, with a scramble sparked for his signature.
Fortuna emerged victorious in that chase and are taking great pride in their ability to keep emerging talent out of the clutches of more prestigious rivals.
Pfannenstiel is held in the highest regard within German football when it comes to spotting promise, with a productive spell having been spent at Hoffenheim before making his way to Dusseldorf.
He is delighted to have got a deal for Ofori over the line, telling Goal and Spox about the transfers he is most proud of: “A transfer is always about teamwork, with different departments such as sports management, analysis and scouting all flowing into one another.
“One of the highlights was here at Fortuna Dusseldorf. Namely Kelvin Ofori. He came to us at the beginning of the season at the age of 17, completely unknown by most people and without boots. He was like a bag of tricks.
“Ofori was trained in the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. This is a private football academy with great influence from Manchester City.
“I knew Ofori from my time in Africa, even then he was considered an exceptional talent. It was clear to me early on that he had the potential to play at some point in Europe and possibly at City.
“Because his father refused to sign a new contract, other players were promoted and Ofori remained largely unknown to many.
“It’s true [Real Madrid and Manchester United were interested in him]. After a few conversations, we decided to invite him over as a guest player.
“A few weeks later he came to us in the training camp, behind him a 16-hour flight over north Africa and England. He was totally tired and didn’t even have soccer boots with him. Still, he really wanted to get involved right away. So he trained with boots that were one size too big for him and still made a great impression. Now he has a three-year contract.”
Ofori has figured for Fortuna in the DFB-Pokal this season, with a goal recorded in his first competitive outing against 08 Villengen.